Monday, September 24, 2012

Digital Substitute

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to the Ron Clark Academy in Altanta, GA for a workshop (more about that experience in another post!).  I knew that my students would be missing a lot of instruction over two days and I didn't want to have to review a great deal once I got back to school.  In addition, I wanted to emphasize certain things in my lessons and I knew that the sub would not know exactly what I wanted done.  So, I created a series of videos for my students to watch while I was gone.  I recorded myself teaching the lessons and the sub simply had the job of pressing "play" on my computer, then "pause" when she needed to, and finally, the "stop" button.  This is as close to "flipping the classroom" as I've ever gotten and the subs loved it! 

I asked for feedback from my students today, in the form of a "Substitute Survey."  I asked questions about the sub, how the two days went when I was absent, and I asked their opinions on the instruction videos.  Here were some of the responses:

"I liked the videos because I've never seen another teacher do that.  You are one-of-a-kind."  Aw!
"The videos were fun because we could see you when you were gone."  Aw, again!
"The videos were great!  It was fun to be taught by Video Bowman."  ha!
"Everytime a teacher has a substitute, all of the kids try to say, 'That's not the way our teacher does it.'  Even if there's a designated person to tell the sub what to do, it always becomes the whole class trying to talk at once.  The videos helped because the class wasn't trying to tell the sub all about how our class works and how our teacher teaches."  Glad to know it was helpful.

If I ever plan on being absent again, I'll definitely take the time to create the videos.  It actually didn't take as long as I thought it would.  At times in the lesson, I would say, "Press 'pause' and please discuss this as a group...or with a partner"...or..whatever. 

The students enjoyed it, the subs had an easy job, and I didn't have to spend any time reviewing today or wondering what was taught while I was gone. 

Have any other teachers tried this before?  If so, how did it work for you? 

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